While browsing the stands at the farmers market, you will be sure to find bundles of carrots with their ferny tops still attached. The delicate greenery dangles from the bright orange roots making for a beautiful freshly-harvested display. Whenever I bring home a bunch of carrots from the market, my first choice is to roast them. Roasting baby carrots until they’re golden and tender makes for a simple and satisfying side dish. Tossing them first in a blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey & flaky sea salt brings out their natural sweetness while they caramelize in the oven.
Before you throw the tops of those carrots into the trash or compost bin, you may be surprised to know that the greens are unexpectedly delicious. Contrary to common belief, carrot tops are in fact edible. Bright and herbaceous, they are a wonderful compliment to the root from which they grow. Making use of the abundance of carrot tops from one bunch may seem like a challenge, but throw in a handful of basil and you get the perfect balance of flavors for a carrot top pesto.
Warm from the oven, the balsamic and honey roasted carrots get topped with the carrot top pesto and finished off with crumbled goat cheese. This recipe is perfect for this time of year, as summer starts to bleed into fall and we begin to crave roasted foods once again. The weather has cooled to the point that turning on the oven is not unreasonable and the basil growing in our garden is flourishing now that the intense summer sun has subsided.
Seasonal, no-waste eating at is finest, this recipe proves that carrot tops are meant to be enjoyed. Once you try these roasted carrots with carrot top pesto and goat cheese, I promise you’ll never look at carrot tops the same again.
- 1 bunch of baby carrots, cleaned with tops removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- flaky sea salt, to taste
- crumbled goat cheese
- carrot tops from one bunch of carrots (approximately 2-3 lightly packed cups)
- large handful of basil
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (chopped walnuts may be substituted)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- flaky sea salt, to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Place prepared carrots in a bowl- drizzle carrots with olive oil, balsamic vinegar & honey, tossing to coat (often times, carrots from the farmers market are not uniform in size - if some carrots are larger than others, slice them in half lengthwise as needed to make them similar in thickness, so they all cook evenly)
- Spread carrots on parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle carrots with sea salt
- Roast carrots for 20-25 minutes (depending on size) stirring occasionally until evenly browned & tender
- While the carrots are roasting, make the pesto
- Remove the carrot top leaves from the stems, then add carrot leaves, basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, a couple pinches of sea salt, and olive oil to the bowl of a food processor
- Pulse contents, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl, until smooth- taste and adjust seasoning if needed
- When carrots are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly
- Place carrots on a serving dish, top with spoonfuls of pesto and then add crumbled goat cheese